CAPTURING JOY + LOVE.... {family of six photos}

Initially Little Miss's goodbye date was set to be in October.
But once we introduced Little Miss to her forever family and 
they started having her for the weekends, they didn't want to wait that long.

Oh that made my heart happy and sad at the same time.
It was so important that I knew she would be loved 
fully, completely and immediately by her new forever family. 
I knew it would be right if they felt they couldn't live another day without her.

Hearing them say...'they couldn't wait until October' was exactly what I needed to hear.
But that meant instead of having one more month with her....
we had ONE WEEK. 

I called my girlfriend Sarah Lane, from Sarah Lane Studios,
and frantically explained our situation.
We had a couple of wishes before Little Miss left.
One was to have family pictures taken with her.
She was part of our family for almost 2 years.
She would forever be a part of our family and I wanted it documented.
Mostly I wanted our relationship documented.
Her personality documented.
Our love for her and her love for us....documented.

But this week was going to be hard to pull off.
We were all a mess. 
We only had ONE WEEK left with her being ours.

Sarah texted back that she could take pictures the very next evening.
I told her I would be praying that we would be smiling
and would truly be able to capture joy and love in those photos.

I don't know how we managed
but we succeeded!

We captured HER with each one of us. 

Captured the love we had for each other.

And Sarah was able to capture the love I had for her as her mommy.

Not one tear was shed the evening of the photo shoot....

Well....except from Little Miss!

She did not like Sarah trying to take any pictures of her.
At one point, she was throwing a fit and crying and I said....
'Snap that picture. I need that. That is her tantrum I always want to remember!'

Oh how I LOVE that girl.

It was also important to me to have Sarah capture a few pictures
of Little Miss and Little Mister together so I could frame it 
and put it by Little Mister's bed!

I asked for prayers that day from everyone so that we could stop crying
for the evening and be able to Capture Love & Joy. 

Thank you. 
Those prayers were heard.

And thank you Sarah Lane Studios from the bottom of my heart.
These pictures are near and dear to our family's heart. 

* * * * * 

Here are some of the out-takes from trying to photograph a
family of six with two toddlers!

Now to figure out which one to print large for our wall....
because seriously.... the outtakes are just as frame worthy!



She was 13 months old when we carried her into our home in her carseat.
She was a tiny little thing but had a strong presence.
She was timid but livid.
She had just been removed from the only home she knew.
She screamed....for 6 weeks.
She cried so loud I was sure our whole court could hear her.

And here I was crying so loud I was now sure our whole court could hear me.
It was a Tuesday, the Tuesday before she would be leaving our home.
A Tuesday....a year ago today.

I spent that day slumped on the floor near my closet door in my bedroom.
Wailing. Sobbing. Arms wrapped tight around my chest.
Knees pulled in and tears spilling down my cheeks.
Noises were coming from my deepest inners I didn't even know I could make.
How could this decision have felt so right and hurt so bad.

I wanted to spend every minute with her, but didn't want her to sense anything different.
I brought her to daycare so she wouldn't see me in pain. 
But I just wanted her here...in our home that last week.

Instead I spent the week weeping. I wore sunglasses full-time.
I didn't answer my door or my phone.
I had heard the anticipatory grief was actually harder than the saying goodbye.
I'm not sure one is harder than the other, but your mind gets the best of you 
during the anticipatory grief process.

I had a women say to me the other day.....
'can you imagine how it felt for her to have to leave your house and watch her brother stay?'
It took everything for me to hold it together there in that office. Tears filled my eyes
but I didn't let them spill over. I didn't want to make her feel bad.
It was an honest thought and question.

But, YES...I had thought that thought over and over and over and it was that thought that
almost killed me. In fact, I can't keep from weeping now as I type.

That is what anticipatory grief is. The unknown. And it hurts deeply.

But I also knew a few things that were so so good.
She was loved. And would continue to be loved by our family.
She was already loved by her new family.
She was young. Very young and very resilient.
I had been told by a therapist that she doesn't think that way.
Little ones can't think those thoughts. They feel them...in a nervous system type of way
but they don't actually think those thoughts. It helped and made sense.
Her nervous system would feel it.
She would rebel. Fight back. But not know exactly why.
Would she miss us, cry for us and want to go back home. 
Yes. But was her mind working overtime like mine was during anticipatory grief. No.

I knew she was going to be loved.
By so many wonderful loving people.

But that week.....that week of anticipatory grief was hell. 


I will be writing this week about saying goody-bye to Little Miss. 
I need to. My heart needs to record it.
I've been so weepy yesterday and today and then realized why.
And thought...can my body and soul really recall this season in my life from a year ago?
I think so. I can't deny it.


WEARING {my style}

Two of my favorites right this minute.
I need more tee shirts in different colors.
I was a bit nervous to wear camo moto style pants, but I LOVE these. 

And the pants run a tad big and stretch out fast
 so I got a size 6. 
I usually wear an 8...so order down a size.

Shirt + Pants  

Worth every penny for both items!



 About a month ago Blake stopped going to school.
There was nothing I could do to get him there.
He was just done.

And I'll admit, I was done with the fight also.
It was more a fight in my own head
about feeling like a failure as a mother.
There was nothing I could do to motivate him, change his attitude,
help him get to school. 

I tried everything and when EVERYTHING didn't work
I ended up in tears. I mean it's my job to get my kids to school.

After a week of him staying home and doing small school work
projects like a book report, a small science project and some math on SumDogs,
I decided to entertain the idea of Independent Studies to finish out the school year.
This was the only option we HADN'T tried and I wanted to know if it might work.

After meeting with Blake's wonderful Principal we had a plan in place.
He would finish out the year with Short-Term Independent Studies.
This means that the work comes directly from his teacher
and should take about 3-4 hours per day. 
His teacher knows his abilities and what he needs to work on
so she didn't overwhelm us with too much work.

We started 2 weeks ago.
Blake was so excited.
We went and bought a desk for him to work at.

We also purchased a small white board weekly calendar
where I fill-in his work for the week and also
attach his Journal Prompt for each day.

We bought him a fun pencil to celebrate his new school journey from
The Printed Palette while we were down south at the Queen Bee Market.

PE includes baseball practice and swimming in our neighbors pool in the early afternoons.

Where else do you get to do your school work barefoot?
Well...maybe in Hawaii! But Blake thinks it's pretty cool.

The honeymoon period lasted one week
and the second week we had a few rough mornings
but it was nice to know we could just start school work a little later in the day!

This week we are plugging along.
On Monday we actually went and visited the Middle School
that Blake will be attending if he chooses to go back to traditional school.

As of right now...that is his plan.
He wants to try Redwood Middle School.
And I'm ok with that, because I know we have a plan
to fall back on that is working and keeping my boy relaxed and happy!

The other perk to this homeschooling/independent study program...
I have a lunch date more often than not these days!


New Challenge Starting June 7th!

This next challenge will be called...
6 Week Simple Summer Challenge.

I'd love to have you join or share the info with a friend!
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